Article

Coronavirus: NFL plans to stop players exchanging jerseys, embracing rivals after games

July 10 2020 12:51 AM

The NFL sees no problem with players touching, sweating and breathing on one another in games, but as soon as the final whistle blows, it may be time for opposing players to immediately social distance.

League officials informed teams on Thursday of plans that could see players prohibited from post-game interactions within six feet of each other in an effort to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

It means exchanging jerseys, hugging and handshakes will be off limits, if the proposals, reported by the league's own NFL Network, get the go-ahead.

A jersey swap among opposing players has been a familiar sight on the field after games, as has been the obligatory embrace between each team's starting quarterback, but neither look like being permitted for the 2020 season, which is due to start on September 10.

The NFL's thinking was mocked by Richard Sherman, the San Francisco 49ers cornerback, who questioned how it can be "deemed unsafe" to carry out the swap given all the contact that has gone before.

As part of the 11-page document sent to each team outlining game-day protocol plans, teams have reportedly also been informed that players and coaches would not be required to wear masks on the sideline but other sideline personnel will be required to wear a face covering.

Media will also not be allowed in the locker room and anyone who arrives at the stadium and records a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted to enter.

A report on NFL.com cited the NFL Network story, while adding: "The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop."

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